Were you a Girl Scout? I was, and I cannot tell you how many ways that having been a Girl Scout has enriched my life.
As a Girl Scout, I learned the proper way to fold an American flag, and I learned that it is totally unacceptable to allow a flag to touch the ground.
I also learned that a tattered flag should be given a Hero’s burial. Because I was a Girl Scout, I still cry when someone sings The Star Spangled Banner, and I cry at The Changing of the Guard.
This past weekend the East Coast dealt with a severe snow storm. On Facebook, there were several mentionings of the fact that yesterday, the snow shut down Washington DC, but the sentries continued to march at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I commented that when I watch the sentry duty there, I always cry, and I have never been there when it snowed. I am sorry for the boys who stood in the snow yesterday, but I am thrilled that in doing so, many people were reminded that America is still a great country. We are more than the politicians who lie to its people. We are more than the crooks on Wall Street. We are more than the brats who desecrate our flag. We are America, the home of the free and the land of a few who are still brave.
It was in Girl Scouts that I learned to love America, but I learned much, much more from being a scout.
Every summer, I went to Girl Scout camp. When I was a young camper, I slept in a cabin whose sides were half-screened. When I was a young teenager, I moved to the units with tents that were erected on hard wooden floors. When I was an older teen, I moved to the other side of the camp–to the part that was heavily wooded–and I slept in a tent that was pitched on the ground. That was the Outpost part of the camp. Things were rugged there, and I spent my last camp summer as a Primitive Camper. That was the ultimate experience of frontier camping. We drank lake water that we treated with pills, and we created our own shower, by attaching a bucket to a tree. To make our tables and to hold our wash basins, we lashed limbs together. Of course, we cooked every meal on an open fire, but even as a young camper, I had learned to cook that way.
[Would anyone like to marry Grizzly Adams? I’m available!]
Because I was a Girl Scout, I learned how to survive when conditions are not ideal, and I am thankful for that. In many ways, I continue to survive, even as an adult. Yesterday, I wrote about the snow storm that was bearing down on the East Coast, where I live. The weather forecast told us to expect a large amount of snow, but it warned us that our worst problems would be caused by the heavy winds. I live a few houses away from the open Bay of the Atlantic Ocean, and I have suffered through several wind storms here before. We call them N’oreasters. Invariably, they blow our electricity out, and we are left to make do, and sometimes that lasts for a week to ten days.
Partially because I was a scout and also because I learned to do so from my parents, I have an entire walk-in closet that I have dedicated to emergency preparedness. I have TWO Coleman rechargeable lanterns. I always have one of them charged by my bed. Who knows? We could lose power at any minute. Be Prepared!
I also have a Coleman lantern that uses propane.
In addition, have a Coleman stove that uses Propane.
Besides that, I have one of the little Coleman Catalytic Heaters, that is also fired by a can of propane fuel.
Last, I also have a My Buddy Portable Heater that uses two cans of propane fuel.
I hate being cold.
For the first several years after I moved to this area, we lost power several times. One year, we lost power in May, and I nearly froze to death. After that I went crazy, buying the portable heaters, and the interesting thing is that I have not lost power since then.
Friday, when I was lining my propane devices and the cans of propane on the table in my bedroom, I thought to myself that everyone in this area needs to pay me $5.00. Now that I am totally prepared, we won’t lose power. And that was the case again.
But did Life give ME a Get Out of Jail Card? NO! When the Powers-That-Be realized that I would not be losing power, they simply took my refrigerator instead. About the time that the snow had covered the ground and the stores had closed on Friday night, I noticed that my refrigerator was broken. All of my frozen food was melted, and my milk was lukewarm. Even if I could scrape enough money together to buy a new refrigerator, the stores had shut. On Saturday, the roads were paralyzed by snow, and the stores were still closed, too. We got several more inches of snow last night. I still cannot get to the store, and it is probably still closed anyway.
But remember! I am a Girl Scout! The Powers can’t get me down. When my refrigerator broke, I just threw all of the stuff that was in the freezer away. Some of it had been there since 2003. It was time for a good purging. I put the rest of the stuff in the garage, which is every bit as cold as a refrigerator. [Allow me to pause and ring my mother’s bell. I learned this trick from her. I never go there for Christmas and fail to find the best drinks and treats out in the garage].
I still have electricity. I never lost it. My propane arcade is wickedly and defiantly grinning at me, but I don’t care. I’ll get the last laugh. All of my gear will simply go back into my closet, and because I am prepared, I’ll dodge the next bullet, too.
©Jacki Kellum January 24, 2016
When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade!